Amarok (software)

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Original author(s)Mark Kretschmann
Initial releaseJune 23, 2003; 19 years ago (2003-06-23)[1]
Stable release
2.9.0[2][3] Edit this on Wikidata / 7 March 2018
Preview release
2.9.71[4][5] Edit this on Wikidata / 31 January 2021
Written inC++ (Qt)
Operating systemUnix-like, Windows
TypeAudio player

Amarok /ˈæmərɒk/[7] is a free and open-source music player. It is available for Unix-like, as well as for Windows and macOS systems. Although Amarok is part of the KDE project, it is released independently of the central KDE Software Compilation release cycle. Amarok is released under the terms of the GPL-2.0-or-later.


The project was originally started by Mark Kretschmann as a means of improving XMMS due to several usability problems, which interfered with the addition of new files to the playlist due to several user interface elements existing for one task. The original amaroK was created based upon the idea of a two-pane interface seen in Midnight Commander, and the first version of the software released solely by Kretschmann, was based upon the ideal of allowing users to drag-and-drop music into an interface in which the playlist was displayed on the right and information on the left.

After the initial release of AmaroK, several developers joined the project to form the “Three M’s” the first of whom was Max Howell, who acted as an interface designer and programmer for the project, alongside Muesli (Christian Muehlhaeuser), who also provided user interface insight and programming till the late 1.4 versions.

The program was originally named amaroK after a Mike Oldfield album of the same name.[8] Later the artwork changed to reference Amarok, a wolf in Inuit mythology. The app's capitalization was changed to Amarok in June 2006.

A new major version of Amarok, version 2.0, was released on December 12, 2008. On June 3, 2009, version 2.1 was released which reintroduced a few of the 1.4 features which had been missing from the initial 2.0 release and introduced some features such as native ReplayGain support for the first time.[9]


Basic uses and functions[edit]

Amarok serves many functions in addition to the basic function of playing music files. For example, Amarok can be used to organize a library of music into folders according to genre, artist, and album, can edit tags attached to most music formats, associate album art, attach lyrics, and automatically "score" music by keeping play count statistics.

Although a more technical list of features is listed below, here are the primary functions or uses for Amarok:

  • Playing media files in various formats including but not limited to (depending on the setup) FLAC, Ogg, Opus, MP3, AAC, WAV, Windows Media Audio, Apple Lossless, WavPack, TTA and Musepack. Amarok does not play digital music files embedded with DRM.
  • Tagging digital music files (currently FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, AAC, MP3, and RealMedia).
  • Associating cover art with a particular album and retrieving the cover art from Amazon.
  • Creating and editing playlists, including smart and dynamic playlists. The dynamic playlists can use such information as the "score" given to a song by an Amarok script, and the play count which is stored in the database.
  • Synchronizing, retrieving, playing, or uploading music to the following digital music players: iPod, iriver iFP, Creative NOMAD, Creative ZEN, MTP, Rio Karma and USB devices with VFAT (generic MP3 players) support.
  • Displaying artist information from Wikipedia and retrieving song lyrics.
  • support, including submitting played tracks (including those played on some digital music players) to, retrieving similar artists and playing Last FM streams.
  • Podcast.

From version 1.4.4, Amarok introduced the integration of Magnatune, a non-DRM digital music store, enabling users to purchase music in Ogg, FLAC, WAV, and MP3 formats.

Some of these features depend on other programs or libraries that must be installed on the computer to operate.

Technical features[edit]

  • Three main window panes: playlist browser, collection and player window.
  • Systray (panel notification area) icon support.
  • Song collection, which includes specific folders on the filesystem.
    • Searching Files/Artists/Album/Genre in Collection can be performed using Simple and Advanced options
  • Intelligent Playlists support (Dynamic Playlists)
  • Integration with online services such as Magnatune, Jamendo, MP3tunes, and Shoutcast.[10]
  • Songs can be rated both dynamically (based on how much the song is played) and by hand (giving a rating of 1-5 stars to the song).
  • Amarok File Tracking (since 1.4.3): Stores file checksum in the collection. This allows the file to be moved around in the filesystem without Amarok losing track of the song statistics.
  • Collection filter (newest songs, highest rated, most played, etc.).
  • Support for Phonon engine. The backend of Phonon dictates which media types of Amarok can play and how they play. When using Xine, Amarok supports crossfading, but not seeking in seek pointless FLAC files. When using Gstreamer, Amarok supports seeking and gapless playback, but not crossfading.
  • Support for moodbars.
  • Uses TagLib for tags.
  • Amarok can be controlled via D-Bus.
  • Amarok Scripts, for example, when writing lyrics fetching plugins, can be written in QtScript.[11]

Amarok 2.0[edit]

Amarok 2 was released on 10 December 2008. New features include:

The user interface had been redesigned to make context information like lyrics and albums from the same artist more accessible and allow the user to decide which information is available by adding applets to the Context View in the middle.

Changes since 1.4[edit]

  • Service Framework: This integrates networked music sources directly into Amarok. This includes online music stores, media servers, Web music lockers, and more. Due to this the users can get easy access to music provided by Magnatune, Jamendo,, MP3Tunes Locker and Ampache.
  • Biased Playlists: Biased Playlists extend the old Dynamic Playlists. They allow users to define an automatically populated playlist, based on specific probability-driven criteria called "biases".
  • Context View: This view occupies the central place of the Amarok's window, replacing the old Context Browser from the 1.x series. It displays contextual information about the music one plays, like the album cover, track rating, labels, lyrics, artist information, related songs and artists and track mood.
  • Other Features: Additional changes in Amarok 2.0 include a new SVG-based scalable theme, advanced scripting, dynamic collections, usability changes, updated media device handling, new podcast manager and support for more software platforms.

Forks and variations[edit]

Clementine: A fork of Amarok 1.4.

The transition from version 1.4 to version 2 was criticized by many users. As a consequence, some new projects have been established, based on Amarok version 1.4.x.

  • Amarok Live was a live CD Linux distribution created as a co-promotion with to promote the idea of Free Software and Open Music. The self-bootable CD was distributed with songs mostly selected from the Magnatune library by the developers.
  • Clementine is a fork of Amarok 1.4[12] to port it to the Qt 4 framework.
  • Exaile is a GTK+ clone of Amarok 1.4.
  • Gereqi is a clone of Amarok 1.4, written in PySide.
  • Pana was a fork of Amarok 1.4. The intention was to keep the original program alive. The author has now discontinued the project.

Release history[edit]

Legend: Old version, not maintained Older version, still maintained Current stable version Latest preview version Future release
Major Version Codename Minor Version Release date Notes
0.5 Wocka Old version, no longer maintained: 0.5.0 2003-06-23 Initial release
0.6 ? Old version, no longer maintained: 0.6.0 2003-09-20
0.7 The Last Zombie Old version, no longer maintained: 0.7.0 2003-11-16 Added support for crossfading and customizable columns.
1.0 ? Old version, no longer maintained: 1.0.0 2004-06-17 Added searchable 'collection', file browser, cover art from Amazon and statistics.
1.1 I am a rock Old version, no longer maintained: 1.1.0 2004-09-27 Added song ratings and support for Xine, MAS and K3b.
1.2 ? Old version, no longer maintained: 1.2.0 2005-02-14 Support for iPods, Audioscrobbler, MySQL and a themeable browser.
1.3 Airborne Old version, no longer maintained: 1.3.0 2005-08-14 New playlist browser, work on interface, dynamic playlists, support for podcasts, relative paths in playlists, playlist queue, Wikipedia integration and cuesheets.
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.3.9 2006-03-26 Helix and GStreamer engine, improved interface, work on podcast support.
1.4 Fast Forward Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.0 2006-05-17 Improved support for mobile devices, work on memory usage and interface design, integration of Last.FM into the context browser, gapless playback using Xine, lyrics now fetched with scripts, advanced Wikipedia integration, CD ripping via drag n drop, improved handling of podcasts.
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.1 2006-07-02 Improved performance and usability, name changed from amaroK to Amarok, Last.FM streams, rating via scripts.
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.2 2006-08-22 DAAP client, MTP media device support, dynamic collection, custom Last.FM stations.
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.3 2006-09-05 AFT (Amarok File Tracking).
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.4 2006-10-30 Magnatune integration, 3 different ways of crossfading with Xine and helix engine.
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.5 2007-02-04 SHOUTcast streams, labels.
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.6 2007-06-21 New icon set, Rockbox support.
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.7 2007-08-13 Updated icons and Cool Streams.
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.8 2007-12-20 Added/improved support for latest iPods (using libgpod3): 6th-Generation iPod Classic, 3rd-Generation iPod Nano, iPod Touch
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.9 2008-04-09 Only released in Kubuntu. It was missing one important bugfix, so it was immediately superseded by
Old version, no longer maintained: 2008-04-12 Updated translations, and bug-fixes
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.4.10 2008-08-13 Very important security update
2.0 In the beginning Old version, no longer maintained: 2.0.0 2008-12-10 Complete redesign of interface, increased graphical features, KDE 4 support, first (unstable) release for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.[13]
Magellan Old version, no longer maintained: 2009-01-11 Searching and filtering in the playlist, reintroduction of queueing and stopping after track.

(Immediately superseded 2.0.1 after a security bug was found in the initial release).[14]

Only Time Will Tell Old version, no longer maintained: 2.0.2 2009-03-05 Bug and stability fixes.[15]
2.1 Let There be Light Old version, no longer maintained: 2.1.0 2009-06-03 Native ReplayGain support, a refactoring of context view, a playlist layout editor, and Amarok URLs and bookmarks.[16]
Oceania Old version, no longer maintained: 2.1.1 2009-06-17 Mostly bug and stability fixes.[17]
2.2 Sunjammer Old version, no longer maintained: 2.2.0 2009-10-01 Layout editing, photo and video plasmoids, breadcrumb navigation in the collection browser, and much improved sorting and editing in the playlist.[18]
Weightless Old version, no longer maintained: 2.2.1 2009-11-16 Faster collection scanner, podcast grouping, autofetching podcasts, SMB (samba) support in playlist.[19]
Maya Gold Old version, no longer maintained: 2.2.2 2010-01-11 Moodbar support, custom labels for music, podcast refinements, and many bugfixes.[20]
2.3 Clear Light Old version, no longer maintained: 2.3.0 2010-03-15 Better podcast support and saved playlists, many small improvements.[21]
The Bell Old version, no longer maintained: 2.3.1 2010-05-31 Automated Playlist Generator, two new applets for the Context View, cover fetching improvements, and many bugfixes and small improvements.[22]
Moonshine Old version, no longer maintained: 2.3.2 2010-09-21 Dynamic Collection fixes as an attempt to work better with hard drives and USB mass storage devices, compatible with KDE's 4.5 release, other bugfixes.[23]
2.4 Slipstream Old version, no longer maintained: 2.4.0 2011-01-15 Conversion of tracks from one file format to another when copying from the file browser to the local collection, other bugfixes.[24]
Resolution Old version, no longer maintained: 2.4.1 2011-05-08 Lyrics and iPod handling both improved along with remote collections, you can now better preview your changes in the Organize Collection feature, other bugfixes.[25]
Nightshade Old version, no longer maintained: 2.4.2 2011-07-07 Enable drag and drop on collections to copy/move within Local Music and directly from the playlist, other bugfixes.[26]
Berlin Old version, no longer maintained: 2.4.3 2011-08-01 Compiles with the LLVM frontend Clang, Enable drag and drop on collections to copy/move within Local Music and directly from the playlist, other bugfixes.[27]
2.5 Earth Moving Old version, no longer maintained: 2.5 2011-12-20 Re-written USB Mass Storage support, integrated Amazon MP3 store, other bugfixes. Windows version of Amarok officially stable.[28]
2.6 In Dulci Jubilo Old version, no longer maintained: 2.6 2012-08-13 A complete overhaul of the iPod and iPhone support, transcoding for iPod-like and USB Mass Storage devices.[29]
2.7 A Minor Tune Old version, no longer maintained: 2.7 2013-01-18 Preliminary version of the Nepomuk Collection plug-in. Statistics Synchronization between collections and with The File Browser's behavior and appearance was greatly improved. Audio CD playback was resurrected.[30]
Harbinger Old version, no longer maintained: 2.7.1 2013-05-15 Fix inability to reverse "Use Music Location" decision and inability to clear database once all collection directories have been unset. Fix inability to create database when home directory contains non-ASCII characters.[31]
2.8 Return To The Origin Old version, no longer maintained: 2.8 2013-08-16 A fancy audio analyzer visualization applet. Smooth fade-out when pausing music. Many UI improvements and visual tweaks including better support for alternate color themes. Significantly enhanced MusicBrainz tagger. Power management awareness with a pair of new configuration options. Performance optimizations and responsiveness tuning all over Amarok.[32]
2.9 Hibernaculum Current stable version: 2.9 2018-03-07 The last Qt4/KDE4.x based release before porting Amarok to Qt5 and Plasma5[33]


  1. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Amarok 2.9.0 "Hibernaculum" released". 7 March 2018. Archived from the original on 8 March 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Amarok 2.9.71 Alpha out now!". 3 February 2022. Archived from the original on 10 February 2021.
  6. ^ "license notice placed at the top in one of the source files of the project's repository, probably in each of its source files". Retrieved November 22, 2017. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
  7. ^ "Amarok: Call for Jingle, July 06 2007".
  8. ^ "AmaroK - the audio player for KDE". Archived from the original on 15 June 2004. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  9. ^ Prior versions of Amarok required a third-party plugin for ReplayGain functionality.
  10. ^ Shoutcast support is no longer officially included in version 2.2 and above due to licensing issues.
  11. ^ "Scripting HowTo 2.0". Development. Archived from the original on 2008-09-02. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  12. ^ David Sansome (2010-02-22). "Clementine 0.1". KDE Mailing Lists. Retrieved 2011-11-03. It is largely a port of Amarok 1.4, with some features rewritten to take advantage of Qt4.
  13. ^ "Amarok Weekly Newsletter - Issue 10". 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  14. ^ "Magellan - Amarok released (including security fix)". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  15. ^ "2.02 release notes". 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  16. ^ "Amarok 2.1 "Let There Be Light" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  17. ^ "Amarok 2.1.1 "Oceania" released | Amarok". 2009-07-04. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  18. ^ "Amarok 2.2 "Sunjammer" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  19. ^ "Amarok 2.2.1 "Weightless" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  20. ^ "Amarok 2.2.2 "Maya Gold" Released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  21. ^ "Amarok 2.3.0 "Clear Light" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  22. ^ "Amarok 2.3.1 "The Bell" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  23. ^ "Amarok 2.3.2 "Moonshine" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  24. ^ "Amarok 2.4 "Slipstream" Released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  25. ^ "Amarok 2.4.1 "Resolution" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  26. ^ "Amarok 2.4.2 Beta 1 "Nightshade" Released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  27. ^ "Amarok 2.4.3 "Berlin" Released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  28. ^ "Amarok 2.5 "Earth Moving" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  29. ^ "Amarok 2.6 "In Dulci Jubilo" Released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  30. ^ "Amarok 2.7 "A Minor Tune" released! | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  31. ^ "Amarok 2.7.1 "Harbinger" Released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  32. ^ "Amarok 2.8 "Return To The Origin" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  33. ^ "Amarok 2.9.0 "Hibernaculum" released | Amarok". Retrieved 2018-03-07.

External links[edit]